Australia and New Zealand mark Anzac Day

Australian PM Julia Gillard meets veterans at ceremony in Seoul, South Korea
Image caption The Australian prime minister met veterans in Seoul

Australians and New Zealanders are marking Anzac Day to remember those who died fighting for their country.

The Anzacs were the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps who suffered huge losses at Gallipoli in Turkey in a failed allied assault in 1915.

New Zealand PM John Key has made an address in the UK, while his Australian counterpart, Julia Gillard, is taking part in a ceremony in South Korea.

Anzac Day has become one of the most revered occasions in both countries.

Gallipoli was the first time that Australia and New Zealand had fought as independent countries and the heroic defeat on the Aegean coast is widely seen to have forged the nations' character.

More recent conflicts are also remembered as many thousands of people attend services and marches, while commemorations overseas have become a key part of Anzac Day.

'Here to remember'

Image caption Mr Key made an address at Hyde Park in London

At Hyde Park Corner in London, about 2,000 people gathered for the Dawn Service at the Australian War Memorial.

In his address, Mr Key said Anzac Day was a time to remember those who had lost their lives, as well as to thank the nations' men and women who continue to serve in uniform across the world.

He is due to attend a Service of Ceremony later at Westminster Abbey.

His Australian counterpart, Julia Gillard, is in South Korea to mark the 60th anniversary of a key battle in the Korean War.

Ms Gillard has travelled to Seoul to join Australian veterans who fought in the Battle of Kapyong 60 years ago.

"We come here to honour a great legacy and to do what is important - to remember," she said. "We remember the 17,000 Australians who served in Korea and the 340 who didn't make it home."

Many Australians and New Zealanders firmly believe that Anzac Day is not a glorification of war but a tribute to personal sacrifice, says the BBC's Phil Mercer in Sydney.

More than 10,000 New Zealand and Australian servicemen were among some 100,000 soldiers who died in the failed eight-month Gaillipoli campaign.

However, there are critics who say it stirs up "ugly nationalism" that has forced Australia into what they describe as "imperialist wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere".

They insist that it is a "myth" that Australia's identity was formed in the carnage of World War I.

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